“From flood to fire to flood and then again to fire,” he said. “And we have had two states of emergency. That’s unprecedented.”
“That speaks to the changing environment we live in and the ravages of climate change.”
( Sounds good right?? But wait…just wait for it..keep reading… L.Y)
When asked how the province can justify supporting a proposed LNG energy project and simultaneously try to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Horgan said B.C. is just 4.5 million people sharing a planet with seven billion others.
“We have to be realistic about what our impacts would be,” he said.
As I sit to write this morning, sequestered once again because the smoke is still too acrid and thick to be outside for too long, Premier Horgans words quoted above leave me feeling disappointed, sad and angry. It appears our premier has joined the “Oh well ,we can’t make a big difference so fuck it.” crowd.
That he and the Prime Minister haven’t been pressed harder on their contradictory positions and actions about climate change and industry is alarming because Houston, we have a problem. And it isn’t going away. I’ll come back to this BC fire situation in a moment, but let me share my thoughts on climate change before I continue.
We all know ( or should ) that the earth has and will continue to go through, cycles of heating and cooling. Earth’s geological history and science has shown this and it will continue long after we are gone. The difference between what’s happened in the past and what is happening now – and where many arguments begin – is how people impact this process and cycle.
Oddly enough, many still believe that humans, and all that we have created, have no impact on the earth or our climate. That despite evidence to the contrary, all the pollution, over population, deforestation, paving and concrete jungles that aid in raising the temperatures in cities, the industry, the garbage and everything else we’ve created in our period in history will have no impact on this process.
I am not one of those people.
It amazes me that anyone could fail to see what the global impact is of our presence, and seriously believe humans aren’t contributing to either the speed at which change is happening or how we adapt to it. Or even believe that we can’t or shouldn’t do what we can to mitigate what’s happening. It’s crazy.
Are we doomed? In all honesty, I don’t know. Nor do I have all the answers but I do have an obligation to my children and yours, as well as to the global community to find the best way forward.
We all do,but I think a lot of people are in denial and fear immobilizes them. It’s overwhelming for many people & those who do try are called Negative Nellies. I prefer reality and I am not going to sugarcoat it to make anyone feel better right now. As Hillman states in the piece above it’s going to require a global response in which many people simply will not make the concessions required to make change:
“…the world’s population must globally move to zero emissions across agriculture, air travel, shipping, heating homes – every aspect of our economy – and reduce our human population too. Can it be done without a collapse of civilisation? “I don’t think so,” says Hillman. “Can you see everyone in a democracy volunteering to give up flying? Can you see the majority of the population becoming vegan? Can you see the majority agreeing to restrict the size of their families?”
This is the terrible heart of the matter and why so many people truly can’t even contemplate what might be coming down the road. It’s depressing and overwhelming, yes. But we can’t ignore this.
We need to have those discussions because we need to truly understand what a world of increasing extremes of heat or cold or natural disasters might be like…and plan for our children’s and grandchildren’s increasingly unknown future world.
Most of all we need to approach these very real scenarios and public discussion in a strong tone of empowerment so people are moved to rise to the challenge. Hope, not hopelessness is what we need more than ever from global leaders. Yes it is scary. But we must swallow hard and get on with it. I never anticipated seeing so many climate changes in my lifetime. And I refuse to subscribe to the “It won’t make a difference” mindset. And you shouldn’t either.
This is why Horgans response to the question on LNG disappoints. ‘Ah well. We are only 4 million people among billions-be realistic about it!’ No sir. Take that attitude and shove it. We can make a difference. We can draw a line in the sand, as many others have before us…Horgan has always been an oil and gas man, but right now, we need him to be a leader who gets the reality he speaks of.
Which brings me right back to the fire situation in BC and this bit from Horgan as well:
Horgan says to have to declare a wildfire related state of emergency two years in row is unprecedented.
He says adjustments need to be made for future fire seasons.
“Over the decades, I don’t want to blame anyone, but we have not been cleaning our forests. There is too much fuel being left behind. We need to address that. We had an outstanding report on last year’s fire season done by George Abbott and Maureen Chapman. We are through half of the recommendations and then we had to put the report down and get to work to deal with this year’s fires. We need to be ready to go when the rains come to prepare for next year.”
Sigh. This is where my frustration rises because they should have – and could have – been ready for last years rainy season. There was no need for the NDP to wait and spend this last fall/winter/spring reading a report on last years fire season to begin to act aggressively on prevention… and they know it.
How do I know this? Because as I posted on facebook yesterday, in 2016 Harry Bains spent a considerable amount of time rightfully holding then forest minister Steve Thomson to account in the legislature on the BC Liberals failure to treat already identified high risk forests from the Filmon report, in a fast enough manner.
Here is an excerpt from that exchange:
H. Bains: My question was: how many hectares — 80,000; is that correct? — have been treated, out of the 685,000 that were considered high risk? Are those the numbers?
Hon. S. Thomson: Yes. Sorry, I thought I’d already provided that in my previous answer — 80,000 hectares.
H. Bains: So 80,000 out of 685,000, and we are talking about since 2004. You’re looking at 12 years to treat 8 percent — rough and dirty — of what was considered to be high risk by the Filmon report.
When you compare that to Alberta, with their big fire at Slave Lake, they committed $1 billion over ten years. They committed that. We are going year by year, and 12 years later, we’re still sitting at 8 percent. If you go at this rate, you’re looking at 100 years to fix this. I mean, that’s the reality.
Yes, you talked about long term, and I get that. But at this rate…. Especially, I’m talking about the 685,000 that are considered to be high risk, not 1.7 million. You’d probably take a couple centuries to do that, if you continue on with this pace. Clearly, the commitment isn’t there.
I think the communities should be worried, because we are talking about areas around those communities. Kelowna, all those surrounding communities went through that. The whole purpose of that report was so that we don’t go through that catastrophe again in any other community.
I think it is very, very dangerous for government to continue to ignore or do very little to fix the problem and treat the area that was considered high risk. Obviously, government isn’t taking that very seriously.
And yet here we are again…
It was known in 2016 that these areas weren’t being treated fast enough. So why did the NDP spend a winter reading yet another report and not budgeting for an aggressive treatment of already identified high risk areas? These areas are explosive, tinder dry and hard to fight. I can’t even find out how much of the high risk areas identified, have been treated in the last year. ( if you happen to find it, let me know)
It’s not ok to joke about how shitty the methods for budgeting for these things are in the middle of yet another crisis, when you’ve hammered the former government for similar failures. You know how to do better. And I have to ask if and why an entire wet season was wasted while yet another report was being read, knowing full well fire waits for no one. We knew we were behind two years ago.
As Harry Bains told Steve Thomson in 2016: ” The whole purpose of that (Filmon Firestorm) report was so that we don’t go through that catastrophe again in any other community.”
* A big shout out to all those fighting the front lines, mopping up, volunteering to support and feed firefighters and evacuees in communities impacted. You are amazing and keep #BCStrong.